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With no more November cream puffs, BYU’s diet is about to change

Saturday’s game against Utah Tech is the home finale for the Cougars in the independence era. Next year their final home game will be against a Big 12 foe

SHARE With no more November cream puffs, BYU’s diet is about to change
BYU recovers a fumble during game against New Mexico State on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Provo, Utah.

BYU recovers a fumble during game against New Mexico State on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Provo, Utah. The game marked the first home finale for the Cougars in the independence era.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Pastries! When properly baked, they are light, fluffy and easy to eat. BYU has been devouring them for years, but the bakery is going to close and the Cougars’ diet is about to change.

Utah Tech is BYU’s final opponent at LaVell Edwards Stadium before the Cougars surrender their independence for membership in the Big 12. The move will cut off BYU’s access to the season-ending dessert bar it has enjoyed since New Mexico State rolled into town on Nov. 19, 2011.

Scheduling a good home game to finish off the fall has been nearly impossible as an independent. Even after 12 years, despite vigorous shopping by athletic director Tom Holmoe, the only thing college football would let him buy was a dozen doughnuts.

The Trailblazers (4-6) will be the last of the November “snacks” for the Cougars (5-5). As with the previous 11 opponents, Utah Tech, in its first full season as an FCS program, comes to Provo with no more than four wins.

To their credit, the Trailblazers are riding a three-game winning streak and behind former Washington State offensive coordinator Craig Stutzmann, they are throwing the ball all over the place. However, with BYU appearing to have found itself at Boise State, and with a bowl game on the line, the Cougars are expected to roll.

UMass was the only season-ending “sweet” that turned sour in a home finale and left BYU with an upset stomach. The Minutemen (3-7) stunned the Cougars 16-10 to close out the 2017 home schedule. BYU responded by replacing Ty Detmer with Aaron Roderick as offensive coordinator.

The 2018 finish taught the Cougars that it’s OK to have a doughnut now and again. After struggling through the season, BYU needed a win to qualify for the postseason. Fortunately, New Mexico State (3-7) was on the menu.

Freshman running back Lopini Katoa rushed for 155 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-10 victory that landed the Cougars in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where freshman quarterback Zach Wilson made a name for himself by completing all 18 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns.

San Diego State capped the wild COVID-19-impacted season with a frigid battle on Dec. 12, 2020 — the latest home date in BYU history. The Aztecs (4-3) were heralded as the only opponent to bring a winning record into the Cougars’ home finale during independence. 

BYU and the freezing conditions proved to be too much for their West Coast guests. With temperatures dropping into the low teens, and pandemic restrictions limiting the crowd to 1,099 fans, the No. 14 Cougars (10-1) snowballed the Aztecs 28-14 in their last push for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Everything else on closing day in Provo has been light snacking with a side dish of double-digit victories by an average score of 49-12.

Enjoy it while it lasts because after Saturday, there will be no more all-you-can-eat servings of New Mexico State, Idaho State or Savannah State to finish the regular season. Instead, it will be a meat and potatoes bar against the likes of Texas, TCU and Baylor.

The Big 12 will reveal BYU’s opponent for the 2023 home finale next month.

Moving forward it will be survival of the fittest with schedules rewarded for their difficulty, not for their assortment of cookies and cupcakes (Cougartails not included). The November bakery that BYU has enjoyed for a dozen years is closing.

Someday we might look back and remember the easy wins as “those were the days!” But for now, with an appetite for something much more filling, it’s time to put down the doughnuts and start eating steak at LaVell Edwards Stadium.


UMass safety Tedrick Lowery takes down makes a tackle during game against BYU at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. The Minutemen handed the Cougars a stunning 16-10 defeat.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News